The city of Deming, NM, 30 miles from the Mexican border, is becoming a staging place for refugees from all over the world. Recently it has been Iraqis. The younger Christian men among them have tattooed crosses and wear crosses on chains. The older ones are more subdued. A father and son bought a washing machine at a garage sale for $100. It turned out to be a piece of junk. They took it to the Maytag Repair Shop, run by a crusty old friend of mine who, despite his exterior, is one of the most generous people I know. He could not fix it.
When getting their money back from the seller proved fruitless, they returned to my friend and asked, “What are we supposed to do?” The repairman made the sign of the cross, folded his hands and bowed his head. The older man broke out into a belly laugh. Then he, too, made the sign of the cross, folded his hands and bowed his head.
Now, a couple of times a week the old Iraqi comes to visit the Maytag shop. They both make the sign of the cross, fold their hands and bow their heads, and the Iraqi pats the repairman on the back and says, “Friend!”